OFFICIALLY OPEN: Mayor Jack Dempsey and Assistant Minister Julieanne Gilbert unveil the plaque at the Rubyanna Waterwaste Treatment Plant in August.
OFFICIALLY OPEN: Mayor Jack Dempsey and Assistant Minister Julieanne Gilbert unveil the plaque at the Rubyanna Waterwaste Treatment Plant in August. TAHLIA STEHBENS

ECONOMIC REVIVAL: Positive future for Bundy, says mayor

APPROVAL of the multi-storey mixed commercial and residential development on the Esplanade at Bargara is a turning point in taking the Bundaberg region forward to a bright economic future.

The $20-30 million project will be the single biggest private-sector housing investment in our region over the past decade.

It's a positive sign that private investors have confidence in our region.

Council now has more than $300 million of approved developments in the pipeline, representing hundreds of jobs in trades and construction.

We need to encourage private sector investment to give our young people jobs.

There's not a single key trigger for growth. It's about having a diversified economy that includes agriculture, health, tourism and construction while making sure we support the most disadvantaged people in our community, which is over a quarter of our population.

My focus as mayor has been to lay the foundation for growth.

It's why the council spent $71 million on the Rubyanna Wastewater Treatment Plant - the single biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken - to cater for a growing population.

The Multiplex was a $32 million investment in a state-of-the-art community facility and conference venue.

We're improving the amenity of our communities through projects such as the $8.3 million Burnett Heads streetscape improvement and $4 million to revitalise the Gin Gin CBD.

Future projects include the Elliott Heads foreshore master plan implementation, Bundaberg CBD revitalisation and upgrades of the Kalkie and Gregory River water treatment plants.

At the same time as investing in infrastructure, council has reduced the rate rise to the level of inflation, recognising that cost of living is a major issue.

Out of the 44,500 ratepayers, 26 per cent are on some sort of pension. In Townsville it's 7 per cent, Cairns 9 per cent.

Council gives back approximately $12 million in discounts and concessions every year.

Despite these challenges, this current council has transformed our economic growth rate from negative 6 to positive 13.3 per cent.

Council has set the scene for the private sector to invest with confidence. We're now seeing the emerging seeds of prosperity through projects like the one at Bargara and the proposed Innes Park independent living complex.

I'm positive about the future of the Bundaberg region and as Mayor I'm committed to creating a culture that encourages innovation and growth.

I've had a gutful of the naysayers. It's so easy to be negative. This community has had its expectations dumbed down for decades.

We have to change the attitude to one where things can get done, things can be achieved.

Council is leading by example through responsible economic management and good governance and the private sector is now responding.

I'd like to commend our hard-working staff for embracing a positive mindset and I thank the community for its support.

This council has laid the foundation and we're getting on with the job.